No Regrets: A Ten-Step Program for Living in the Present and Leaving the Past Behind

August 23, 2004

Though I’m not a big fan of self-help books, I’m glad that I took the time to read Hamilton Beazley’s book. A professor of psychology and a leading self-help expert, Beazley nourishes our spiritual growth and helps those of us who are filled with regret, remorse and self-recrimination for things done or left undone.

“We all have regrets,” Beazley says. “As we grow older and more fully appreciate the mistakes we have made and the opportunities we have missed, the more there is to regret, at least potentially.” Whereas “many of us ignore these potential regrets and let the real ones go, . . . some of us hold onto deep and consuming regrets that burden our lives, cripple our relationships, and hobble our future.”

Beazley proposes ten steps to deal with regret and ultimately leave regret behind. This involves breaking down regret into its component parts. For example, in step two, on examining this emotion, he suggests four specific strategies: look at your role in creating the regret; identify those you’ve hurt; identify those you blame; and understand the consequences of holding onto regret. A weakness is that he sometimes goes into tedious detail, and parts of the book feel repetitious.

Though the book is not explicitly religious, Beazley often refers to the “higher power” appealed to in many 12-step programs. He relentlessly insists on the spiritual implications and underpinnings of regret, repeatedly underscoring the role of God’s grace if we are to put our regrets behind us in a healthy, holy way.

Since our regrets discourage us, Beazley chooses to act as coach and encourager to readers. “As you travel this journey of discovery, of letting go, and of spiritual growth, you will not be alone. . . . You will find love, support and guidance in unexpected places and from unexpected individuals.”